The vision began as a community fitness center, and when Nick Petterssen found CrossFit, he knew it had to be incorporated.
It was 2009 and his sister-in-law had begun to hound Petterssen about the coolness of CrossFit. “She wouldn’t shut up, so finally I went and visited the CrossFit gym and checked it out,” he said. “I really liked what I saw in terms of the programming and the movements, and decided that that would be a great starting point for that larger community fitness center that I had envisioned. So at that point I started running some informal CrossFit classes in a local park.”
By November of that year, Petterssen said he had a significant amount of people coming to the park for free CrossFit workouts. So, he Affiliated, becoming Green Mountain CrossFit located in the community fitness center called The Confluence in Berlin, Vermont.
“The Confluence is really our business name. The Confluence started and we Affiliated as Green Mountain CrossFit,” explained Petterssen. “As such we’ve sort of moved forward with the business model that The Confluence is responsible for, hosting many different types of organizations, personal trainers, body workers, other folks in the fitness industry — and one of those things that The Confluence houses under its umbrella is Green Mountain CrossFit. They’re technically at the business level one and the same, but sort of from the marketing and branding side of things, The Confluence is the place where you go to get awesome fitness experiences — we call it the Playground — and Green Mountain CrossFit is a big cornerstone piece of what people come to The Confluence for.”
With the combination of the fitness center and CrossFit gym, members have a wide range of choices. A class membership at The Confluence gives you access to CrossFit and studio classes, benefiting both the business and the athlete. “There’s a couple of different benefits that we see,” said Petterssen. “[Our athletes] can be a little boneheaded about their CrossFit, and it’s really nice to be able to encourage folks to take some yoga to do some restorative work on their bodies instead of just hammering themselves over and over, so to be able to say, ‘Hey look, you have an unlimited membership, you should start hitting at least one yoga class a week because it’s going to help your performance in the gym, it’s going to keep you more injury free,’ that type of thing.”
On the other side, Petterssen said having studio classes just down the hall from the CrossFit gym means those who may be intimated by it have easy access. They get to see what CrossFit is all about. “We sort of have a movement in the other direction where people who come in for the studio experience end up getting engaged in the CrossFit side of things as well,” he said.
Discovering the type of culture Green Mountain CrossFit was going to have was important to Petterssen. Surrounded by a rural community, he noted the demographic of his gym is a little bit older than most Boxes, typically ranging from 30 to 50 years old, and is targeted towards folks in want of general fitness.
This is reflected in his building and approach to the Box’s feel: there’s a lot of outdoor space, it doesn’t have a typical CrossFit-warehouse look and the music played is “a little bit more straight up the road,” he said.
Although Petterssen noted the local demographic influenced the culture of his Box, so did his own personality. “For me, that hard, crashing, heavy metal feel to the gym — it didn’t fit my personality,” he said. “So I think from day one when you open your doors, your Box is going to be who you are, and like I said, I don’t think you can fake that.”